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In the Drink (1999)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385720211, Paperback)Bridget Jones's Diary seems to have unleashed a flood of similar novels featuring unmarried, underemployed, somewhat neurotic young women searching for the right job--and, more importantly, the right man. One of the better entries in the Bridget Jones Sweepstakes is Kate Christensen's In the Drink, which features a 29-year-old New Yorker. Claudia Steiner long ago traded in her initial dream of making it big in journalism for a position as personal secretary and ghostwriter for Genevieve "Jackie" del Castellano, an elderly writer of bestselling novels and a lunatic to boot. In addition to her employment woes, Claudia has an unsatisfactory love life: her lover is married, and the man she loves just wants to be friends. Helen Fielding played these miseries for comedy; Christensen, however, takes her character--and her readers--down a darker path. Where Bridget would get tipsy in a pub with her girlfriends, Claudia prefers to drink alone. Still, though Claudia's tribulations mount--she loses her job, she can't pay the rent, she makes a pass at her best friend and secret crush, William, and gets rebuffed--Christensen manages to keep the tone hopeful even as she refuses to pull her punches. When, for example, an acquaintance calls her a drunk, Claudia thinks:
A drunk was someone to be reckoned with, someone interesting and far-gone. I should have been alarmed and ashamed, should have considered joining all those chain-smokers in church basements--I knew what I was supposed to feel. But the sunlight covered the street with the clear healthy gold of ale, the brownstone faces were burnished the toast-warm color of bourbon in candlelight, the air was clear and lively as gin, and something leapt in me, a persistent little flame of self.In the Drink is not a Cinderella story, after all--nor even a retelling of a Jane Austen classic--but Christensen ends her debut on a hopeful note without giving its heroine a complete makeover. And in Claudia she has created a character who is endearing because of her flaws, not in spite of them. --Alix Wilber
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:19 -0400)
An assistant to a famous writer of romance novels describes her life.
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